How to Combat Separation Anxiety
(even if it hasn’t happened yet)
I remember it like it was yesterday.
My husband tried to console me, but I was a mess.
I didn’t want to see him go and then for him to…
My oldest son, Justin, was going to the military. And even though my husband served, my brother…I just didn’t know how I would handle being a military MOM though.
And I am sure you had the same feeling if your child has gone to college, moved to another city for work or just wanted to take the next step in adulthood. You’re proud of them and you’re sad. I get it.
Yet, it’s important to plan for what is to come rather than simply ignoring it.
Your kids will be in college soon. They will be leaving the house for their next great adventure. Therefore, now is the time to develop a plan to help you cope with the sadness of the separation.
Try these techniques to help you prepare for the separation:
- Enjoy your newfound freedom. While your kids are away, you can rejoice in your newfound freedom. Think of how open your schedule is now that you are not running them all over town for their activities. Here are some ways to celebrate:
- Host dinner parties on weeknights
- Lounge around with your spouse without sharing the TV
- Take vacations during the school year
- Join clubs
- Become more active in your church community
- Rediscover your interests.
- Find a hobby or a new hobby that helps you feel needed, appreciated, and offers gratification.
- Reconnect with your spouse. After raising the children for so many years, living alone or with older, more independent children may feel strange at first. But it is time to feel like newlyweds! Reconnect with one another on a deeper level than you have in the last twenty years or so. Try these tips:
- Make every night a date night! Make something special for dinner a few times each week and then go out on the town on the weekends.
- Applaud one another for a job well done. You’ve raised wonderful children together; you’ve succeeded as parents and have held a successful marriage. You’re living the American dream – have a toast to your success!
- Plan a home improvement project. Properly planning a home improvement project takes time. Therefore, use the few months ahead while the kids are still at home to redo their bedroom once they’re off in college. Here are some ideas for the new space:
- Turning their bedroom into a gym may be too much of a change. So, take baby steps. Turn their bedroom into a guest bedroom. By doing so, you can comfortably accommodate both your adult children and guests.
- Add a home office area to the bedroom so your kids can have a place to study when they come home on breaks. In addition, a simple armchair for reading, fresh paint, new linens and accessories will make for a hotel-like retreat that guests can appreciate.
- Generally, most teens won’t feel as if they’re being slighted when their childhood bedroom is given a makeover. If anything, they’ll feel better knowing that their parents are just as excited about the change.
In addition to all of the tips outlined above, plan ways to connect with your children while they’re in college or away in the military. Plan to send care packages, have weekly video chats, monthly visits, and holidays together.
However, refrain from saying: “Call us every night” as this will likely cause your child to feel guilty when unable to call. It’s vital to remember that this is uncharted territory for everyone involved; it’s certainly a mixed bag of emotions. All you can do is to try your best to look at the bright side and all of the benefits involved for your youngster.
You aren’t losing a child; you’ve raised a productive and responsible adult.
Good job parents!